Tracy Austin slaps back at ESPN's implied disrespect of tennis

In what ESPN meant as a congratulatory social media post, Austin found the real tennis slight behind the words.
WTA 50th Anniversary Gala
WTA 50th Anniversary Gala / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

ESPN meant no harm. On the surface, their social media post about Doris Burke was a good one. The issue was that whoever worded the post for the four-letter network slighted the sport of tennis as well as another accomplished woman. At least one woman.

Tracy Austin took issue with the post, however, as well she should. This is especially true as Austin is an American and the post came from an American-centric view. In the X/Twitter post, there was a photo of Burke, who is covering the NBA championship series games for ESPN, with the words, "Doris Burke will become the first woman to serve as a TV game analyst for any major men's professional championship event."

The question is what constitutes a "major" championship event. ESPN was obviously thinking the only major sports must be baseball, basketball, the NFL, and, maybe, hockey because those are the biggest four sports in the United States. The post was near-sighted as soccer, for one, is by far the most important sport globally. Tennis is also pretty important globally, not that ESPN seems to care.

Tracy Austin slams ESPN for leaving out Mary Carillo

Austin cares, of course, and she reacted to ESPN by correctly pointing out that Mary Carillo has been commenting on finals of the Grand Slams for a number of years. That includes the French Open men's final between Alexander Zverev and Carlos Alcaraz from this past weekend. Potentially, ESPN meant a men's "team" sport, but that is not how the post was written.

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The truth is that while tennis has a following in the United States, the sport is not among the most popular. ESPN, though, is a global brand, but they should understand that they should not slight a sport that is as popular as tennis. Most likely, there was an underling that wrote the post, or maybe someone who doesn't understand there are other countries besides the United States.

Carillo, of course, is unlikely to respond to ESPN. She has too much class for that. Hopefully, a nod to Austin will be the most she will do. Tracy Austin likely posted everything Carillo might be thinking anyway.

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